Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Goodbye Zak - "He was my world"

Zak last week - the morning of the day he was PTS
I was really sad to hear of the death of Zak the Boxer who featured in the first Pedigree Dogs Exposed.

The footage in the film of Zak's epilepsy (he suffered from cluster seizures) caused controversy.  First, it was extremely distressing; second some thought it inappropriate for a film crew to have been present (in fact we weren't there; we had given a camera to Joan and her partner Fred to film it themselves.)

There were accusations too that Zak wasn't show-bred so shouldn't have been in the film as PDE focused mainly on the damage done by KC breeding of show-dogs. Others maintained that although Boxers can and do suffer from epilepsy, there are certainly other breeds that are worse-affected (as indeed, we did state in the film).

Poor Joan got a lot of flak after the film but she always stuck to her guns that it was important for people to see what it was like for owners to deal with epilepsy - which in some breeds is frighteningly common due to inbreeding and a breeder-culture of brushing it under the carpet.

It has been a terrible, terrible last 12 months for Joan. Last September, she lost her long-term partner Fred. Joan nursed him at home and he died surrounded by their three Boxers.

Fred with Boxers Zak, George and Tasha
Then, just 16 days after Fred died, Joan lost her younger Boxer, Tasha, aged 7 to a brain tumour.

Tasha (left) with Zak
Now Joan has lost her beloved Zak and is left with just Georgie, her white, deaf rescue Boxer.

"Zak was my world," says Joan simply.

Joan did a truly amazing job of caring for Zak given how severe his epilepsy was - something her vets have applauded her for,  too.

Joan was also very brave to let us use the footage of Zak in PDE. 

She has my admiration and heartfelt thanks. 

Zak in his younger years 
Zak with Fred in Pedigree Dogs Exposed


  1. Zak is immortal now. How many dogs make it onto TV? Change the debate? Help spark a movement? Good dog Zak. Well done, and well done for Joan and Fred as well, for it took all three, working together to make that happen. Condolences on your loss, but congratulations on your life.

  2. I'm so sorry not only to hear about Zak's death, but Tasha's and especially Fred's too. Joan sounds like an amazing, brave, and resilient woman. My thoughts are with her as she navigates this incredible grief.


  3. Joan was and is still devoted to her dogs and suffered lots of hardship to keep Zac alive and well and free from pain during his years with her, even Zac's vet said the same, and he was amazed at how well Joan coped with his illness taking into account her own health problems.His medications cost the earth but he never went without whereas sometimes Joan did. It has also been a terrible years for her losing her partner Fred, then just a few days later she lost Tasha very suddenly and now Zac. Joan was devoted to her dogs and even thought she knew that Zac was going to die very soon due to his health and age, it was still very difficult for her accept when he died last week. Well done Joan you gave Zac a life and kept him pain free and a very loving home, where most would have put him down due to the cost of keeping him alive.

    1. Thank you for your very kind words. at least Fred, Tasha, and Zak are all now together again I mss them so much....

  4. Thank you Sarah, They are all terribly missed xx

  5. Thank you so much to Tameside Veterinary Clinic in Ashton, they sent me a beautiful paw print card with some forget me not seeds, in Memory of Zak, he touched the lives of many ....xxx